Saturday, June 21, 2014

WANGECHI MUTU



I saw a picture of a painting that I liked. Then, this picture of Wangechi Mutu, an artist and sculptor who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

Right off the bat, a biography appeared and said, "She is considered by many critics to be one of the most important contemporary African artists of recent years. Her art works have. achieved considerable global acclaim."

I started looking at photos of different things she created, and a video. There were lots of things to click. No doubt about it, this artist's credits tell you not only where she's exhibited, but loud and clear, say that the high and mighty folks in the art world are very impressed with her.

I wanted to see her art, not read her life history, so I skimmed. Age 41, born in Kenya, she sensed (she herself explained this in one of the videos) that before she was in her teens, she knew that she was going to be an artist, and she focused on becoming an artist in grade school -- it was a goal as she pursued her education.

It reminded me of me, (and what kids with show biz dreams do). This gal created an instrument -- body and soul -- that could do whatever she might want it to do -- draw, paint, sculpt, build, construct, photograph, record, and film. How did she know what to do? She grabbed whatever she saw that interested her -- that's what Wangechi did -- and she herself says, that's what she still does.

In her late teens she got herself educated in the World College in Wales. In her early twenties, she moved to New York City, where she studied at the New School for Social Research, Cooper Union, and Yale.

And she created things -- paintings, collages, sculptures, photos, music, recordings, and videos.

Her work speaks to me -- images floating on reality, juxtaposition of dream-like visions and beautiful rendered, detailed,  exquisitely detailed reality.

What Wangechi Mutu  says about herself as we look at her work, is a trip into another America -- our world seen by a woman with eyes that see truth, beauty, evil, life and death in her own, very special, different way.

The vision of the artist here is especially interesting -- think of this nine minute video as a visit to a museum of art, where you can spend a little or as much time with Wangechi as you feel like spending.


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